Director's Cut (November 11/03)
It's not easy giving a negative review to a movie like Director's Cut. It's a horror movie filmed on an incredibly low-budget that's obviously a labor of love for all involved, which makes it all-the-more difficult to bang out a review that essentially says the film isn't very good. There's no doubt the filmmakers' intentions are in the right place, but that's just not enough to hide the fact that Director's Cut is a bore.
The movie follows four college-aged kids as they make a trip to Los Angeles so one of them can audition for a part in a horror film called Director's Cut. What they don't know is that the director is a seriously deranged psychopath who plans to murder them on camera, and sell that as the horror film. Meanwhile, a bizarre, bald-headed weirdo is making his way to Hollywood with a canteen of a liquid that may or may not be human blood.
It's not the terrible acting or obvious low-budget that I object to, but rather the lame storyline and complete lack of scares. Co-writer/director Eric Stacey makes the unfortunate decision to play a lot of Director's Cut for laughs, which just doesn't work at all. This seems to be a trend among horror flicks made on the cheap, perhaps as a way of compensating for the lack of funds - but really, it rarely works. But more than that, Director's Cut smacks of amateurishness through and through; from the ludicrous plot to the idiotic characters, there's little here that feels realistic. There's certainly nothing in the film that's going to shock or scare anyone, as the film doesn't even deliver in the realm of gore.
Not helping matters are the four central performances, which are obnoxiously over-the-top (putting it mildly). These characters are imbued with such broad characteristics that it becomes virtually impossible to sympathize with their plight. Even the killer, played by Joe Jeffrey, comes off as dull and petulant - a bad mix for a supposed evil villain. And don't even get me started on the fact that the killer's identity is revealed almost right away; isn't there a rule somewhere that requires masked bad guys to remain mysterious at least until the third act?